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We hope to use this site as a way to share information with, and receive information from, our community members in the town of Amherst. If one of our posts is of interest to you, please add a comment. You can also visit our website at www.amherstpd.org for other valuable information.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Laws to Protect Cyclists

The Amherst Police Department is committed to the safety of our citizens. As part of our on-going campaign to protect bicyclists and the motoring public, we are reminding all motorists of the newly enacted laws that were instituted to protect cyclists.

· Motorist cannot “Door” cyclists. This means that before opening the doors to a vehicle, motorists must make sure that this action does not interfere with the flow of traffic, whether it be vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists. MGL C.90§14

· Motorists cannot “Right-Hook” cyclists after passing them. Simply put, after passing a cyclist travelling in the same direction, motorists cannot make a right turn unless they are a safe distance away from that cyclist. MGL C.90§14

· Motorists cannot “Squeeze Out” a cyclist. If a motorist cannot overtake and pass a cyclist at a safe distance in the same lane, a motorist must either use the adjacent lane, if it can be done safely, or wait for a safe opportunity to do so. MGL C.90§14
· After overtaking and passing a cyclist, a motorist cannot return to the right lane until it is safe to do so. MGL C.89§2
These violations could result in a $50 fine.
During fiscal year 2008, Amherst Police responded to 14 incidents of motor vehicle crashes that included bicyclists. Of those 14 accidents, 11 caused injury to the bicyclist. This represents a 22% increase from the previous fiscal year. The Amherst Police Department has received a $7,000 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Highway Safety Division to fund programs that enforce these laws and educate the public, including pedestrians, motorists and cyclists, of these laws that are designed to keep us all safe. We hope that with this grant funding, we will see a decrease in injuries to the cyclists in town.
Questions regarding this ongoing campaign to protect bicyclists and the motoring public can be forwarded to Sergeant Brian Daly at 413-259-3000 or via email. For additional information on local efforts to promote safe bicycling, see the MassBike Website.

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